ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer both emphasized this morning that President Obama’s proposed tax cut package is not a done deal as far as House Democrats are concerned.
“We will continue discussions with the President and our Caucus in the days ahead,” Pelosi said today in a paper statement. “Democratic priorities remain clear: to provide a tax cut for working families, to promote policies that produce jobs and economic growth, and to assist millions of our fellow Americans who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.”
Facing mounting opposition to the deal from fellow House Democratic colleagues, Pelosi, D-California, stated that the tax proposal announced by President Obama Monday “clearly presents the differences between Democrats and Republicans.”
In her paper statement, Pelosi takes on Congressional Republicans while attempting to draw a distinction between how she believes the Democrats’ proposals would help stimulate job growth while some Republican ideas in President Obama’s proposed deal would only benefit high income taxpayers and add billions to the deficit.
“The Republican demands would provide tax cuts to the millionaires and billionaires, fail to create jobs and increase the deficit,” Pelosi states. “And to add insult to injury, the Republican estate tax proposal would help only 39,000 of America’s richest families, while adding about $25 billion more to the deficit.”
In the pen and pad briefing with reporters, Hoyer said there was "no consensus" among House Democratic Leadership regarding a deal.
“The president announced yesterday that he was reaching he thought a compromise with a Republicans in the Senate,” Hoyer said. “We had a long meeting yesterday with the President, and there was at that point in time, no consensus or agreement reached by the House leadership. There was a discussion, it took some time, but there was no agreement reached.”
Hoyer, D-Maryland, revealed that during the meeting Monday, the president indicated he would publicly articulate parameters of what might be in a deal to “resolve the differences between the Republicans in the Senate and in the House and the administration which would provide a construct to go forward.”
President Obama has scheduled a press conference later this afternoon presumably to sell the tax cut plan, while he’s also dispatched Vice President Joe Biden to Capitol Hill to drum up support among Senate Democrats today.
In addition to extending the Bush-era tax cuts for income levels across the board, the proposed deal includes $56 billion to extend unemployment insurance for 13 more months, about $120 billion payroll tax cut for working families, and multiple additional provisions.
House Democrats are scheduled to meet later this evening for a caucus to discuss the details of the Obama proposal, although Biden is not expected to attend the meeting.
Saturday, the Senate failed to pass a tax cuts bill for the middle class income levels that was passed through the House last Thursday by House Democrats.
But Republicans contend that without a tax cut extension passed in the Lame Duck, every tax payer will see their taxes go up on January 1 st.
"The last thing we need in the current economy is a job-killing tax hike on every American - but that's what we face unless we stop it," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Republican Leader John Boehner.
Still, Hoyer says extending the middle class tax cuts and the unemployment benefits are the critical to helping the economy recover.
“[The American people] don’t believe that this is an issue about chicken waste,” Hoyer said, referencing a comment from Boehner last week in which he said the vote on middle class tax cuts amounted to “chicken crap.”
“They think it’s very serious,” Hoyer added. “And they see both making sure that middle income Americans are doing ok, but that we are also addressing the fiscal problem that confronts our country.”